MORGAN COUNTY, Tenn. — Morgan County may soon get more money to treat people for mental health issues instead of imprisoning them.
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said it will give three applicants $500,000 to create a jail-diversion program. Morgan County submitted a plan to partner with Ridgeview Behavioral Health to build a facility for community services in Wartburg.
The goal would be to redirect people with mental health and substance abuse issues away from the criminal justice system into community-based treatment systems.
“We’ve seen the amazing effect that our first round of pre-arrest diversion sites have had improving the lives of Tennesseans struggling with mental illness, and we are excited that this set of grants will serve people in rural areas of the state,” TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams said in a press release.
The first round of grants from the TDMHSAS helped create or expand jail-diversion programs in several cities across the state, including Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. The department said it wanted to focus on expanding jail-diversion programs in rural areas with its second round of grants.
Pathways Behavioral Health also received a grant to build a walk-in-center and a crisis stabilization unit in Humboldt to help clients in the counties surrounding the city. Volunteer/Hiwassee Mental Health Center also received a $500,000 grant to build a facility in Cleveland to serve its surrounding counties.